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The Stellar Carnival took place in the Aquatica using Photosynthesis during its main show

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us as we play awesome games! over on: https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph


A vid for you!

Enigma: Beyond Code




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The theme of amusement parks is always exciting to me and a carnival theme is very very close and also something I keep an eye out for. I first saw Tom talk about it on one of his quick review videos, and then I saw several different posts about it on FB so I knew I wanted to play The Grand Carnival. New to me!

Any game with polyominos I am totally interested in trying! Grand Carnival has a fantastic theme with tile-placement just had to have it!

In The Grand Carnival, players are working to build up their land and attractions to have the guests spend their tickets as they walk through the carnival. There are several goals to work towards over the 7 rounds. In a round, each player will get to perform 3 actions.

On your player board, you will want to collect land tiles that will allow you to place attractions and create pathways for visitors. On the left side of your player board, there are 5 action spaces for your meeples numbered 1-5. When you place a meeple there you will perform an action with the strength of the number you placed on. For example, if you choose the #3 you would get to move a visitor 3 spaces, or grab a land tile in the 3 or lower spaces, or you can gain a 3 or lower attraction tile in the attraction area.

If you move a visitor they will place tickets on the attractions adjacent to where he lands. Each attraction can hold tickets equal to the size of the attraction.

there are in-game goal cards to work towards for in-game benefits. If you complete that then each other player will get one more turn to complete it or they will miss out on that opportunity.

On the right side of your player board, you will find all the information for scoring at the end of the game and will be the key thing to plan for in order to get the most points.

During our game, I was working on collecting a lot of tiles that could hold BIG 5 size attractions. I ended up claiming 3 of them by the end so I got some big points. This was primarily the only difference between the score I had compared to Michael's end-game score.

We both managed to collect all 5 types of attractions and got 4 visitors to the Big Top for the max 15 point bonus. We basically maxed out all scoring possibilities. I won because I had those 3 large tiles.

The score was 78 to 61 so it was a fairly big difference, but it still all felt very similar in strategy. Everything felt very complete with no questions unanswered.

We both felt we "beat the game" so I decided to try the solo game immediately following our 2-player game to see if I liked how the scoring worked in the solo game more.

Now when I played the solo game it definitely posed a challenge and I liked the scoring better. It still happened where getting a score of 12 or more would gain me a master level solo gamer. It was the highest level to achieve. I managed to score 13 points so not only did I win but I crushed it. I even had a challenging time finding the tiles I needed/wanted, but still managed to get 13 points.

I think there is a great BGG tread: The scoring is not satisfying that sums up my feeling on how the scoring is played out.

This is a game I definitely enjoy. I think the mechanics are solid, but I do think there needs to be some other form of scoring. Maybe hidden goals or harder to reach limits, or have scaled scoring that seems challenging to complete. There needs to be an advanced set of rules for scoring. I really hope there are some other variants that can be worked in later. Besides the scoring I like everything else going on. We will play on the stream and show it off.


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I have been looking forward to getting Aquatica to the table since first learning it at BGG Con 2019 and it has been a while!! Lucky for me Arcane Wonders picked it up to distribute in the US and asked me to feature on the Publisher Night from Sunday!! (video below!)

Michael and I needed a refresher on how to play to be ready for the stream on Sunday so we played a game before and figured out what was the best way to play!

In the game we played before the stream, we just set it up with basic goals and didn't bother drafting the king cards. When we played on the stream we had "advanced rules" and used a mixture of tokens as goals and drafting the king cards.

No matter what I do, I lose this game every time! And I don't just LOSE the game, I lose by 20-30 points it is now a 3-0 situation with Michael at 3 wins. For whatever reason, I just can't play this game well at all!!

There is a new expansion coming out and I am hopeful that it will be an advantage for me and hopefully give me a leg up and win a game!

Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great game full of interesting choices and combos to craft using land tiles and abilities. You definitely have to be crafty and clever. There are a lot of fun things happening in this very beautiful game and I recommend checking it out. Can't wait for that expansion!


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Ohh a beautiful new game from Renegade that we got to try out recently is called Stellar. New to me!

Stellar is a 2-player card game to collect groups of solar system things like planets, moons, asteroids, etc. Over 12 rounds players will be drafting cards to their hands and playing to their solar system area and their tableau area. At the end of the game, the player who has the most points will win.

Stellar is a fairly abstract planning game. You will want to position yourself to have a lot of opportunities to place cards into your solar system region. Planets have to go next to other planets or they can't be placed, so you want to make sure that you have the space to play the cards you want to. There are 5 types of cards that you will want to collect groups of in the system and tableau. Each of the cards in the system will score points equal to the number of stars on the cards, multiplied by the collected matching type cards in the tableau that are in a consecutive straight.

That is how you will generate most of your points in the game, but there are some other area control scoring that will take place too.

There is a strategy in how you draft cards and the card you draft will dictate the next card you have to play based on the card you play first. Very clever mechanic and makes your choices really difficult.

I didn't really have much of a strategy going into the game. I knew I wanted to win a few of the majorities for the different area's but that quickly changed as I was then trying to collect a lot of a type so I could score really big!

Michael was able to score 2/3 of the areas so I was at an automatic disadvantage. he also was able to get a HUGE straight of 0-6 and scored a huge amount of points for that type. Yeah, no surprise when I lost this game 123 to 75... ugh I have some catching up to do in the next game!!

I liked this one, it is definitely a game with a lot of thinking and planning. Beautiful and quick card game and one I would definitely like to play again soon! Maybe tonight on the stream!

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The advent challenge was to play a game with wood or trees so I thought it was a great opportunity to play a game of Photosynthesis since I have the expansion Photosynthesis: Under the Moonlight which I have been dying to check out but Michael hadn't played the base game yet!

Of course, this is a perfect game to play with a "tree" challenge. I think this game is so beautiful and I happen to love the puzzle of trying to gather sunlight and produce more trees. This has been a winner for me since I first learned it back at GenCon when it was released.

If you are a fan of abstract tile-placement this is a game not to miss.

I wasn't sure if Michael would really like it since he is not generally a fan of abstract games, so I was skeptical about how it would turn out. I was pleasantly surprised when he was enjoying the experience and actively trying to block me, of course. During the game, I thought I was doing so well and that it would result in a close game. I was so wrong. He ended up chopping down 6 trees to my 5 so he wasn't just a few points ahead of me in the end. He crushed me! It was a 20 point lead or something.

Such a clever game and it had been too long since I last played it so it was great to get back to the table.

I think we might be playing the expansion on the stream sometime soon! There are several modules included in the box and we can mix and match what we want to play with. They seem really interesting and there are little critters with unique abilities! I can't wait to check it out!


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New to the Collection:
Escape Tales Children of Wyrmwood
7 Summits
coconuts
Sea of War





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:00 pm
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Trekking the World by Air, Land & Sea to get to Hallertau!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST for more fun games! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph


Arcane Wonders Awesome Publisher Night was last night!! We played through 4 games during the night of games and here is one of the videos.

Four Gardens



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I was so excited to finally get a copy of Trekking the World. I first learned of this game through Jeremy Howard since he was really enjoying it. I learned how to play on Boardgamearena.com and very much enjoyed my few plays.

Once it showed up, I basically said we are playing this on stream and I ended up teaching Michael while we were streaming it.

The game is super simple and easy to pick up. It has a lot of similar mechanics found in Ticket to Ride, and I would compare the games on their weight levels.

The game is absolutely stunning. It has a GameTrayz insert included and everything! I just love the gorgeous artwork too though. Amazingly beautiful and some of the best artwork I have seen in a game. Already it is so much better playing in person than playing online. But, having the option to play online is always appreciated.

So we played on the stream (below) where we teach the game and playthrough. I had the leg up since I actually have played several games before!

We ended up playing a second time so I could take some fab photos of the game. In the second play, I was just trying to snatch up as many cubes as possible! It was working in my favor for the most part since I ended up clearing 4/5 regions and taking ALL of the bonus scoring tiles. Michael was working on getting high-value tours for the majority of his points. I had him that game with 119 to his 83!

Since I have now played it with all player counts 2-5, I can say I like it best 2-3 players.

Michael thinks he will enjoy it with more players, but I still think there would need to be a house ruling for compensating players who end up going later in turn order. With 2 players there really isn't much concern. When playing 5 players it is a fairly huge concern.

An easy fix would be just giving out more cards to the player's who are later in turn order.

Other than a few Journey cards and the starting player advantage, I think this is a very clever game. It just feels slightly under-playtested. The game is so close to being great, and I think it could easily be adjusted to be great. I really enjoy this one and would definitely recommend playing it in the future and on BGA if you haven't checked it out. Fun little game with a big table presence.


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Bombs away! It was time to try a game that Michael and I were going to feature during Arcane Wonders Publisher night! We played Air, Land, & Sea. New to me!

It was just perfect since the advent challenge of the day had us playing a game with combat or weaponry. Boom, it was all just meant to be!

Air, Land, & Sea is a 2-player card-driven area control type game. Sort of in the same line as Battle Line where you are competing for control of 2/3 regions at the end of each round.

Each round the players will be dealt 6 cards and will alternate being 1st player. Being first breaks ties in the theaters that are being dueled over. The way the points are awarded is when a player withdraws for the round. If they withdraw with a bunch of cards in hand, the other player will gain fewer points. If they try and hold out longer and play more cards the player who wins will gain more points. Few cards = more points for the other player.

Some cards have abilities, but ultimately you are looking for the strength to take over the theaters.

In our game, I was very good about reading the situation at hand and figuring out what Michael might do. I ended up winning 3 rounds in a row and won the game with 12 points. Yep, all you need is to get to 12 points to have the game end triggered.

We also played it on the Arcane Wonders Publisher Night! Michael mayyyyy have gotten his revenge. You can watch the video below!

I have to say this is a nice little card game. I am not usually one for the tug of war type games, but there is a lot of strategy in how you play these cards to your advantage. I would definitely recommend this one if you were looking for an interesting 2-player game. Check it out!


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MY MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF THE YEAR!!!!! I was so excited that Geoff read the rules to Hallertau! New to me!

We ended up pulling Dan and Alan H into the game. I had seen that Alan had been playing Hallertau solo and figured he might be interested in playing with more players. He also knew the rules and didn't mind teaching, so that was cool!

Hallertau is the new BIG BOX Uwe Rosenberg game so of course, I am all super hyped for it even without knowing much about it.

Hallertau is a worker-placement game about generating resources to acquire and play cards down for abilities and to move your houses to the right. The further right your houses can go the more workers you will get from round to round to use and more points you will get at the end of the game. There are 9 or 10 phases in the round, and a lot will happen in just 6 rounds.

The action spaces all have 3 places for workers to go. If you go there first it cost 1 worker, 2nd needs 2 workers, and 3rd needs to use 3 workers. I think one of the most interesting things about this game is that going into the next round, only the TOP line of workers is removed. If all 3 places have been used then only one row of 3 workers can be used in that round.

The game itself is fairly easy to learn and understand and the iconography is well done. You will just want to do your best in finding the combos from the cards you play.

From game to game you can mix and match a few decks of cards to use for the game, so that will definitely be interesting to play with next time I play.

During this game, I worked hard to get my buildings all pushed as fast left as I could. I didn't really realize what a great strategy might be but I saw a lot of points if I could move the big house far enough. I managed to get 50 points from the house alone! I should have realized it might have been better if I just let the house be and gathered a bunch of +3 points from the smaller houses and used resources in other ways to get more cards down. I ended up losing that game with 76 points. I think Geoff won with 89.

That same night I ended up teaching Derek, Shrey, and Felix how to play and it was a super easy teach since the game flow is well laid out.

I tried a different strategy by collecting tons of sheep. I had a card that said lose 8 sheep for 12 points. So collecting 8 sheep was QUITE a challenge. I had a bunch of milk for several rounds though and it all ended up paying off a bunch for other cards and combos I was doing. I put a LOT more focus on getting cards down. My house movement was really lacking though and I was severely behind with workers for most of the game.

I felt like I was going to lose sooooo badly and it felt a lot worse than the first game I played, but because I had SOOOO many cards down, I ended up beating my first score with a score of 82. It wasn't enough to beat Felix who scored 100. We were doing a very bad job of blocking him though.

Much like the first game, I found myself often going 3rd or 4th each round and that really sucks! I have to fight harder to take that rooster away in future games.

Still, there is a lot to explore and I have to say I quite enjoyed this one. It is not a 10/10 like so many other Uwe games, but I definitely enjoy it and will want to play more and more!

I can't wait for the final copy to be in my possession! Very cool game!



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So there was a game night planned and Geoff was going to be a part of it, but I guess the plans fell through and we both found ourselves looking for a game. I suggested Anno 1800 as it supposedly plays best with 2 when learning the game. New to me!

Anno 1800 is a new Martin Wallace game, which I know is based on a computer game. I haven't played that game, but apparently, there is a lot of gathering resources to acquire and make other resources. It is sort of a point salad game of collection points from cards and end conditions from the items you produce, but most of your points will come from the cards you fulfill.

During the game, you will be building buildings to help produce new goods. You will need workers to use specific buildings, but you can also trade and use other people's resources that they produce. You want to build docks and boats to gin more trade and exploration tokens. There is a lot to consider and each turn you do one small action.

If you have no workers or nothing to do, then you can just pass your turn and reset your board taking off the workers and putting them back onto their spaces, and stocking your boats with trade and explorations.

It is an on-going game of just taking actions until one player runs out of cards in their hand.

I have to say I enjoyed this one. There is certainly a lot going on with sooooo many different types of resources, but it all works fairly well. I was just trying to figure out how to get the teal green fancy worker for most of the game. I had forgotten about "upgrading" workers as an action, I might have done that more and gathered the resources I needed to get more teal workers for the expensive materials.

Obviously, Geoff won but I wasn't too far off!! He won with 130 and I was at a solid 120! Not bad for the first play and I will definitely have a better idea of what to do going into the next game. Shrey seems to think this is BEST at 3 players so I will want to try it again with 3 players for sure!

I have to say I was very impressed with this one and very much look forward to playing it again soon!


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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!








New to the Collection:
Pan Am
Barenpark bad news bear
dominion managerie
LOTR Journeys Exp Dwellers in Darkness
star trek ascendency BORG
fallout atomic bonds





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:00 pm
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Welcome to the Invasion on Tokaido lead by Tumblin' Gudetama!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale

Here is a fun pic from a recent Jackbox game!

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It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. Join me at 2pm CST!



Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun and lots of Giveaways for the Arcane Wonders Publisher Night!!!

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Here are some videos from Wednesday. If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch.

Orléans: Invasion


The Fox in the Forest Duet



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I haven't ever seen the character of Gudetama, but apparently, there is a comic strip and Funko Pops, etc for this character and NOW there is the card game Gudetama: The Tricky Egg Card Game. New to me!

The artwork in this game is just amazingly cute!! The little egg in all these funny situations and he is so sarcastic and wonderful. I have to say all of that is just fantastic.

The game itself is like a game of chicken as a trick-taking game. You have to try and save your best card for last since you want your opponent to get stuck with the final trick and have to take points for the last card they played. You want to have the fewest points at the end of the game.

Depending on the card that was lead the other players will have to play higher or equal to that card, otherwise, they MUST play their lowest card in their hand.

There is definitely a tricky timing situation and how you want to try and manipulate your hand to work in your favor.

This is arguably not the best game for 2 players, but that is how we are playing since it is just me and Michael here.

I was killing it because I was able to hang on to all my 1's and save them for the last possibly play each time in the first 3 rounds. I thought it was easy peasy, but the 4th round sort of went sideways and I wasn't able to control it as well as I could. In the 5th round, I went a total 180 and lost the game by driving straight off the road past 21 points. I super lost! Ouch, and here I thought I was crushing it in the first few rounds. Nope! Michael got me that time!

Cute little card game. I think it would be a lot more interesting with more players so I would definitely want to try that at some point!


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During the advent challenge this year, one of the days required that I play a LOUD game. There are a few games that come to mind, and most of them are dexterity games or games with big reveals like Auf Teufel komm raus. Since it was just Me and Michael, we played a quick game of Tumblin-Dice.

Michael had never played with the full range of dice D6-D20 so I introduced him to that. Same scoring just more dice and crazy luck depending on how it falls. It makes the game even louder!

I like playing with all the dice. Turns out Michael didn't like it as much so I doubt he will want to play with all the dice in another game.

I wonder if he didn't like it as much since I got like 80 points and he got 1. hahaha it was still fun. Definitely not a great game to play with 2 people. I love playing with HUGE groups.

Still fun.

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Last weekend I wasn't sure what we should play, so I thoguth it would be interesting to play Tokaido & Tokaido: Crossroads. New to me Expansion!

In the Crossroads expansion, a bunch of new cards and characters are added to the choices you have in the game. Now each space you visit you can take the normal action from Tokaido, or a new card from the new expansion, often by paying coins to get it.

I honestly can't remember many of the special cards, I didn't really use those cards all that often. It had been YEARS since I last played Tokaido, so I was just trying to stick to what I knew.

I ended up playing as a kid, and the kid didn't have to pay for the meals at the Inns, so that saved me a lot of money! I could focus on getting other things. It worked out very well as I was able to secure a bunch of end goal majorities. I had the most of 3 types of cards. Michael was focused mostly on collecting the panoramas.

Somehow I kept up with him during the game and because of all of the end goals, I managed to win the whole thing! The score was 84 to 74.

It was good to play again, but it is not a game I really would ever request to play. I know Michael likes t a lot so I would play again. It is pretty harmless, but just kinda boring.

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On the stream Michael and I wanted to get the audience involved so we decided it was time to play a game of Welcome To...: Winter Wonderland Thematic Neighborhood. New to me Expansion!

I was excited to try out the Winter Wonderland board! I hadn't played it before so didn't really know what to expect.

with this new sheet, you will want to score long strings of lights. A strand of lights will be consecutive numbers on a street. Seems easy enough... well, not so much!

You can play along with our video posted below. Now we ended up playing twice since we played pretty wrong in the first game. We didn't realize that so many cards could not overlap when scoring the different goal cards. We corrected this mistake in the second game.

It is quite a challenging board so I totally recommend checking it out. I always have so much fun playing the Welcome To boards. Good times!

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New to the Collection:
Aquatica
Architectura
Air, Land, & Sea
Sherlock 13






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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In search of the Mummy's Mask, The Crew stumbled through Tawantinsuyu and found that the King is Dead!

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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


I framed the 24 cards from the final Level 12 in the dark... We rock!
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Tonight at 5pm CDT join us as we play awesome games! over on: https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph

Here is a cool vid from Sunday of Inuit: The Snow Folk


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The other night I got Dan, Derek, and Shrey to play a game of Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire. Dan hadn't played before but read the rules ahead of time.

It had been a while since I last played, but I was looking forward to mocking the game we playing online with the actual copy on the table so I could take some fun pics of the actual gameplay.

I didn't really have much of a strategy going into this game. I knew I wanted to make sure I didn't have to buy lots of meeples so I needed to get extra meeples whenever possible so I wouldn't have to spend the resources getting them.

I worked on getting my tapestry built up so I could get some decent income during the festival phase. A building I picked up also helped with that boost. I was a bit late to figure out the best way of getting to the top of the temple tracks, but I managed to do that fairly well by the end of the game. I am not even sure how I did so well, but I was activating my tapestries as often as I could and generating a bunch of points at the same time.

Having military cards at the right time is also important since you don't want to miss out on possibly playing the cards and scoring some points or bonuses from the different regions. That is how I managed to get 2 temple pushes pretty early in the game.

Everything seemed to go very smoothly or me so it wasn't really a shocker to anyone when the final tally came in and I ended up winning with 134. Shrey had 99, Dan was at 84, and Derek 82.

Rainer would be proud as I totally got a Rainer score.

I have to say I quite enjoy this one. There is a lot going on and you have to deal with what opportunities present themselves. I will definitely look to play this again in the near future. Though, I think I will always still choose to play Teo before this one.


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A recent game Michael and I played was The King is Dead: Second Edition. New to me!

It is funny since we actually played the original game: König von Siam. I am not sure of the actual changes between the original and the new edition, but it feels very similar.

In The King is Dead, players are trying to control areas on the map by collecting cubes of matching colors. The key is that each player only has 8 cards to play during the whole game and there are 8 rounds where one region will be claimed each round.

When players all consecutively pass in the round it ends and the region in question will resolve. a matching disc of the color that has majority will take control, or if there is a tie a black disc will take control.

If all 3 black discs have been used, the game will be triggered, or the game will end after the 8th round.

It is a fairly simple area control game where timing is everything, and if you can get an upper hand at any time, you will do well.

It all seemed very much like the original game. I was going to try and start claiming a lot of 2 colors in preparation for the end game, but it was clear Michael had another agenda to make the black disc run out quickly. Since I needed to get sets of the 3 colors I had to try and balance him out by doing what he was doing.

He was always getting the "last say" in any given round so I was just falling further and further behind. I could play any more cards in my hand since they weren't possible to play due to the positions of the cubes on the map.

Let's just say #Mistakesweremade.

It is definitely an interesting game. I think I might like it better with 3 players since it might make the board shift a little bit more from round to round. This is a game I would play again, but ultimately, it isn't really my type of game.


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CHARLOTTE!!!! HI CHARLOTTE! Yes! Charlotte wanted to cash in her awesome KS night of gaming! We ended up playing the FIRST game of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set on TTS!

We found this amazing mod that once you load in all the features all you have to do is click some buttons and voila the game is set up!

Charlotte has played the new edition of Pathfinder so was familiar with the flow. There are a few differences, but we worked through them.

Of course, getting used to TTS is always a fun challenge, but the mod is quite nice. There is a die strip to easily grab the dice you need and roll them and it magically adds all the results for you and you can add in modifiers. It is all just so super lovely.

Charlotte is a much better storyteller than I am. I think there was something about fleas.

We all picked out our characters and we are the all-girl squad of awesomeness. I am a pyro and I like to blow shit up! Sort of reminds me of the Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion game we are in the middle of.

Man, I just love my character! I can't wait to collect more stuffs and unlock all my awesome abilities! Yes, we will definitely want to be playing this more!

I am always too scared to play a mage or magic character. spells intimidate me and I just feel like I will never understand them. I like playing other types of characters.

I leave the magical folks up to Charlotte and Michael.

I think at one point in the game we all had Silk coats, so not only were we the all-girl clan but we were very fashionable and definitely very cliquey. That was thanks to Charlotte though she told us where to find the silk coats.

All I know is Charlotte did most of the work, but I killed the baddie at the end, so I will take all the credit, thank you very much!

Amazing game and amazing company! Just makes me want to play MOAR Pathfinder!

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Another gameday was cashed in from my Kickstarter and this time was a FULL EPIC DAY of games! We played for over 9 hours of gaming. Chappy and Liz were amazing gamers to hang out with during that time and they invited some friends for a while Megan and Jarred.

During the day I ended up teaching Chappy and Liz how to play The Castles of Burgundy because they somehow missed learning that one in the 6-7 years they have been gaming! We needed to rectify that immediately.

They were great at learning the rules and totally caught on to everything that was happening in the game. Chappy picked up a field of 5 sheep tiles so he scored super huge early into the game. Neither Liz nor Chappy picked up the yellow tiles to score end game points, so that is where I totally took control. Otherwise, it was neck and neck until the very end.

Megan and Jarred showed up and we played several 5 player games. I first wanted to show them all my FAVORITE 5 player game called Turn the Tide. So happy this is now on BGA and I can easily play with any group of 5 players.

We played the first game and it took several rounds, but they were totally into it. After we finished it was immediately requested to play again! They totally LOVED it and it made me soooo stinking happy! We had so much fun.

Since we were on BGA, we ended up playing 9 games of The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine. Megan and Jarred hadn't played before so I taught them and we started at level 5. We could easily beat 5 but when we hit level 6 is was doomsday. It took us like 6-7 rounds to pass that one. We just had some really bad luck with the cards and tasks. Super fun!

The main event for the day was Steam-Powered Scythe. Chappy and Liz were so generous and gifted me the digital app so we could play on Steam. I have to say the app is super cool!!! It takes a little bit to get used to and I certainly mis-clicked many times and ultimately screwed up my plans, but that comes with learning any new platform.

Chappy totally kicked our butts that game, but if he let it go on any longer, I think Megan would have found a way to take over! I was the blue faction and just minding my own business trying to recall how to play well. It had been since April 2019 since my last play, so a while. I managed a solid 3rd place, so that's not so bad! Fantastic game and I miss playing it.

Since we had a bit of time at the end of the day, I taught Chappy and Liz how to play another one of my favorites called Cities. It is a quick little game. Takes a bit to wrap your mind around how the scoring works and the placement of dudes, but by the end, I think everyone knew what was going on.

Great way to end a fantastic day with fabulous folks. I am so glad we could play some games together! Oh Hey, Michael made an appearance and we were all Twinsies!!

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New to the Collection:
Superyum





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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The Alchemists Guild cast a spell to have the Fox Surf's Up to the Cloud City and then played Artbox.

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Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST for more fun games! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph


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There was a new game that just came out that I was looking forward to trying called Materia Prima: The Alchemists Guild. New to me!

The art really drew me in and was the main reason I wanted to play this one. I wasn't really sure what it was about when I got it though.

In Marteria Prima, players are Alchemists and the goal is to create the philosopher's stone and still have your soul. The players have a myriad of options to try and accomplish this goal. Ultimately everyone will have to travel the map and collect resources. Many times a rare resource will be needed so the alchemists will have to transmute in order to acquire the resources needed.

There are a bunch of different tasks at hand and hidden objectives to try and complete. You might run into the other players and start a fight and steal some resources or kill off a familiar that is doing all their work for them.

The familiars can go out and gather resources or fight, they are good to have but you have to spend time and resources creating them.

When all said and done, this is a pick-up-and-deliver game, which is not my favorite type of game.

During our game, Michael was focused on getting a bunch of familiars and equipment. I was laser-focused on getting my objective done which was to make gold tokens and deliver them to a king. Which I did! Then I was off to find the 3 levels of the stone that I needed to win the game.

Sadly for me, I didn't realize that there were multiple types of level 3 stones in the game we played. I searched and searched for level 3 stones in the deck that I needed and kept coming up with a payment of a soul token. (If I had known there were other types, I would have kept digging). So not only did I needed to give up my soul, but I needed to go find equipment that gave me a soul and craft it so I could gain my soul back. In all of that time, Michael totally did ALL the things and made a ton of points from everything he was doing. He could somehow easily get things done.

He was able to finish the game before I could and I was only a few turns behind him by that point. If I had just kept searching I know I could have beat him in this game. #mistakesweremade

Yeah, I am not really a big fan of the pick-up-and-deliver mechanic. I always feel like it is just a repeat of actions over and over. I gotta get here to get this then go back blah blah. I just get tired of it. It also didn't help that the added combat in this game was always staring me in the face. Michael could come over and knock me down and take my stuff at any time. Not really a mesh of mechanics I enjoy. While I love the art, the gameplay wasn't for me. Glad to have tried it, but probably won't play it again any time soon.

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Hey, I was excited to get to try out the new game called Cloud City. New to me!


I had seen this show up on many different channels and media sources and knew it would be a game I enjoyed. There is tile-placement and some abstract planning to score the most points you can by connecting bridges/walkways. The game is over in a 2-player game when a 4x3 grid of tiles has been completed by all players.

Each turn you will take a tile from your hand of 3 tiles and place it into your grid touching another tile already placed. You will add the buildings that line up with the colored spaces on that tile. The 3 colors are all different heights. You can choose to place walkways between 2 buildings as long as there are no missing tiles between the buildings and that there are no TALLER buildings in between them as well. You can only have 2 walkways coming from a building.

The longer the walkway the more points you can get. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the winner!

Super easy to learn and play. Michael and I learned it and then played it on the stream the next day. (vid below). Somehow I am just terrible at this game, it seems.

In both games, I was feeling pretty good, but in the end, Michael just knocked it out of the park!

I tried to position the tiles so that I could score the bigger buildings on the outside and not block the smaller buildings from scoring. Even with all my planning I still came in second place both times.

I do find the game enjoyable and will definitely play again. I do wish the colors were vibrant and fun. I think the colors are a bit drab but that is probably the only thing I would change about the game. Clever game and glad we could show it off!


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It was time to play The Fox in the Forest Duet. New to me!

I still own Fox in the Forest as I think it is a very clever 2-player trick-taking game. I was excited to learn about the new DUET game that is cooperative.

Duet is a totally different game while feeling very similar and in-line with the original.

In Duet, players are working together to move the tracker to positions in the forest and clear the obstacles. If they can clear all the obstacles before 4 of the forest tiles are added to the board then they will win. The cards they play will have some powers and little footieprints. Whoever wins the trick will advance the tracker in their direction the number of spaces on the cards in the trick and clear an obstacle token from the place it lands. sometimes powers allow players to move the tracker in the opposite direction or not count footprints on a card etc.

You can't possibly win the first hand of cards, and after each hand, more obstacle tokens are added to the board, so you really want to do the best you can to clear them whenever possible.

Michael and I played through regular mode and we did the best we could possibly do in the first round. We cleared a token with every card play, but even still, there were tokens remaining so it was inevitable that at the end of the first round we added 5 more tokens to the board.

Pssh it was no problem for us, we were able to complete the clearing in the second round. We didn't do it in the FASTEST possible time, but we did it pretty quickly and scored very well.

Super clever little game. I liked the cooperative variant. I would be interested in playing again with a harder mode and see how it turns out! Probably will check it out on the stream at some point. Beautiful game!

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I got to test out a prototype called Surf's Up! New to me!

Jason is a friend of Michael, and they asked me to play in a game. Surf's Up is a light card game with some card drafting and placement and has a light memory element.

The goal of the game is to catch a wave and score points from the tricks you perform and the combos you can create in the wave. The further out you swim and the longer you ride the wave the more points you can obtain. Of course, there are also common goals and hidden goals to work towards as well.

Each turn you will have 2 actions to do. You can draft wave cards and place them immediately into your lineup or hand. Or you can draft paddle out cards or trick cards. If you paddle out, you won't be able to place wave or trick cards behind the swimmer token on spaces you have already passed by. You can only catch a wave where your swimmer had paddled out to, however.

It is a very interesting card game where your timing is everything. You need to paddle out but you don't want to mess up your wave if you go too far.

The rules are still in working condition as it is a prototype so when Michael and I played with Jason, we gave some feedback. I wanted to play it again and in the second game, I invited Shrey and Derek to join so we had a 4 player game. Some rules were altered and we tried a different way of playing.

So it is really good to know that Jason is so open to the feedback and willing to try out suggestions to see how it might play. I think we all agreed that we like what was happening in the game. With 4 players it seems a bit chaotic since you just can't plan for cards to be there as they will get discarded at the end of each turn. But there is still time to play around and see what works best. Derek compared it to a row in Welcome To... haha I can see the comparison.

This is a super promising game and one I look forward to seeing a final product! Just need a publisher.



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During the CrowD Games publisher night last week Michael and I got to learn ARTBOX. New to me!

The plan was to have Max play along with us, but as it happened we just play with the audience instead.

Artbox is a drawing party game where players will get a choice from a few cards to keep. Then dice are roll and everyone will have to make a drawing using the shapes pictured on the dice. A circle can transform into an oval and a square can transform into a rectangle. You want to use the 4 shapes provided to draw out the object on your card.

Once everyone is done drawing they will add their drawing to the lineup and gather all player's cards, mix in a few other cards and reveal the cards. The players will try to guess all of the drawing based on the words out.

When Michael and I played we sort of made a house rule. We each draw 2 drawings with the dice and then add 3 extra word cards to the lineup of words. It isn't really how the game is meant to be played, but we made it work. We played through 3 rounds! (see video)

I have to say I had a bunch of fun with this one. I love party games with some drawings. You don't have to be good at drawing either! You just need to make some shapes! I really enjoyed this one and will definitely want to play it again. This would have been a game I brought along to Christmas with the family if I were going this year.


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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!








New to the Collection:
Trekking the World
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island – Treasure Chest
9 Dragons?





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:00 pm
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On the Island of Newfoundland the Adventure started in the Bank and ended in the Museum!

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Hia Everyone!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale

It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. Join me at 2pm CST!



Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun!!


Here are some videos from Wednesday. If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch.

Winter Queen (Now on Kickstarter!!)


Ganesha


Michael and I played the MOST EPIC game of The Mind EVER!!! WE DID IT!


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Michael and I wanted to check out the new Adventure Game called Adventure Games: The Volcanic Island. New to me!

Where better to try it than on the Livestream so everyone in the chat could help us out!

The game is pretty simple to pick up and start playing. It is an exploration and puzzle type game to advance the story and figure out your mission as you go.

I have to say I really like that the game is broken up into parts so you can easily play one session and pack it up and play the next session later. We only played the first part of this game. it was enough to wet our whistle and make us want to play more!!!

This is a fantastic game and series. I just want to know what happens and what we need to do!!

The Volcanic Island is an interesting theme and one I am definitely more interested in than the Dungeon game. I have a feeling we will be coming back to this game sooner than later. I can't wait to see what happens! Check out this series of games if you enjoy a good choose-your-own-adventure type game. Super clever!

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I had the privilege of playing on a Livestream with Jing Studio! Derek, Shrey, and I sat down with Tyson and learned Pingyao: First Chinese Banks. New to me!

I didn't really know what type of game I was getting into when I signed up to be in the Livestream. Turned out to be quite an in-depth and long game to teach and play through, but we were all troopers and we figured out what we were doing. The Livestream is posted below.

This game is hitting Kickstarter in January and I am sure I will revisit it with Michael and check it out on my own channel.

This game is all about opening up banks and figuring out how to generate the cash so you can perform lots of amazing actions on your turns each round. There is an interesting use of dice too.

I didn't know what I was doing until about halfway through the game and I sort of puzzled everything together, only to realize that I should have been doing a specific action for most of the game in order to boost my strategy a bit better.

The game resulted in me totally LOSING! We got crushed by Tyson. He went on to say that he played with a group and the winner had like double my points. I scored only 20 so there is definitely room to improve!

I do look forward to checking this game out again now that I know what I am doing properly. The game in general isn't hard to understand and has a nice flow. I am definitely interested in seeing how the expansion mixes with the base game since I think it adds in a bunch of modules and really changes it up! Should be fun!

More on this one when I play the physical copy soon!

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One of the Advent challenges was to play a game with fruit and I had the perfect game to play! It had been far too long since I had played Harvest Island and Michael hadn't even played it before!

In Harvest Island, you are working to collect tons of fruit! It is the fruitiest of fruit games out there.

During our first game, I knew I would lose since Michael kept snatching up the different majorities of the fruit I had already collected. I was much more observant in the 2nd game (video below) and ended up doing a better job.

While he ended up winning the first game I had a major come back in the second game.

I have to say this game really holds up, I like it a lot. Simple mechanics but keeps you guessing on what will happen with the weather cards. Glad we were able to play it and get that dust off the shelf.

Great little game.


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Since the topic was fruit we ended up playing a game called Newfoundland Jam. New to me!

Newfoundland Jam is a simple set collection game with some card drafting to create the sets you need to gather the jam cards for points. It is a race to collect a certain amount of points.

The game is super easy to learn and play. There is nothing really innovative and the game works fine. In general, I don't really enjoy race games, and this certainly is a race to get those 11 points. At least it doesn't overstay its welcome.

Somehow I managed to win even though Michael played a few "take-that" cards soooo I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it out in the end. Sure enough, I found the cards I needed to make the canned Moose for a bunch of points and win the game. Worked out.

This is not really a game I would want to play again, but it was harmless. In the end, it is forgettable.



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Another Advent challenge was to play a game that was set in France or from a French publisher/designer artist. Michael and I selected to learn Museum. New to me - ISH!

I played an early prototype in 2017 at Essen so it was a while ago and there were several changes made, but it mostly felt like the same game.

In Museum, you are trying to create the best museum by having a bunch of sets. You want sets of the same color card and sets of the same symbol but with different colors. You will draft from locations and use cards as a currency to get other cards into your tableau.

Back and forth back and forth you will gain ad place cards in an effort to fulfill your hidden objective as well as all the normal scoring you can manage.

I think the game is just okay. We were playing but the cards weren't disappearing and everything seemed very static. Events were being triggered and then the cards would get sucked away from that. It left me with a very ho-hum. It all felt too long for what was a very linear game.

In the end, Michael kicked my butt, but I just wasn't feeling it, so that could be why, or I just wasn't getting the cards I needed.

While the game is very beautiful, I also think it is a bit lackluster. I think Michael liked it a bit better than I did. If there are better 2 player rules I would be willing to give the game another shot. For now, I am less interested in playing again.


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From gallery of punkin312


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New to the Collection:
Santorini New York
Castles of Tuscany






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Winter Queen Love Dinosaurs in the New York Zoo and the handsome Corsairs.

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us for CrowD Games Night!! TONS OF GIVEAWAYS!! Winner's choice of the game!! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph

From gallery of punkin312



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Speaking of CrowD Games, I got to check out Winter Queen. New to me!

I wanted to help support CrowD Games with their new Kickstarter that just launched TODAY! We are featuring CrowD Games on tonight's Livestream and giving away a bunch of games!

They sent me the Russian copy of Winter Queen, with separate English rules and player aids. The game itself is all finished, but now CrowD Games wants to get funding to print in English, hence the Kickstarter.

I am super excited to feature this game tonight. This has one of the most beautiful covers I have seen, it is stunning!!

In Winter Queen, players will use gems to create patterns on the board and hopefully score lots of points. At the end of the game, the player with the most points will win!

Each turn, the active player will take a gem and place it on the mainboard or on an empty book page. Once they have gems on their book pages they can choose to use their action to score the book with at least one gem on it and gain points depending on the state of the board at the time of scoring.

If the location they took the gem from has been depleted they score a point and then draw 3 gems to replenish the location with gems. Once there are no more gems in the bag, the game end is triggered.

Super easy to understand. Michael and I were up and running in no time. I think my copy of the game has too many gems since we ended up playing a longer game than expected so our scores are probably much higher than the normal game.

I learned quickly that timing is everything. Michael kept coring books with 2 gems on them and because he was scoring the book with 2 gems he had the ability to kill a gem from the display back to the bag. Each time he did that he ruined all my plans and I had to hold out and hope to find that gem color and place it back in the spaces I wanted it to be. He ruined my plans more than 5 times this game. It was like turn after turn! I was impressed with his ability to cause destruction.

He ended up kicking my butt this time. I need to be careful when I play him again tonight... It won't be so easy for him!

Winter Queen is beautiful and interesting. Very abstract, but I don't mind that. I like the puzzle of trying to figure out the best placement. Gorgeous game and I recommend you watch us tonight and check out the Kickstarter!

Join us and grab a chance to win during the Giveaways!! It will be an EPIC NIGHT!


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I was super excited to check out the new Uwe Rosenberg game called New York Zoo. New to me!

In New York Zoo, players are racing to complete their boards fully with tiles. The first player to do that will win the game!

Tiles are set up at the beginning of the game in a rondel around the board and the elephant figure will move around the board. During your turn, you will move the elephant 1-4 spaces stopping at either a space with a tile or a space with 2 animal figures.

If you take a tile you can place it anywhere on your board, but you must have an available animal in your holding area to place down in the new region. When you choose to grab animals you can place them into your holding area if there is room, or into an existing region with the same type of animal. This is important since there are locations on the board that will trigger specific animals to breed. They will only breed if there are 2 or more in the region of the same type.

If you completely fill a region with all animals you will gain a bonus attraction feature into the park and the animals will all get put back to the supply except 1 which can remain in your holding area.

I found out I was pretty good at this game. During our first play, Michael and I were head to head, but I was mainly focused on gaining the land tiles. He was highly focused on breeding animals and having a strong animal production going.

I was super in the lead that first game and ended up winning. During the second game, we played it on the Livestream! You can check that our below.

This feels very much like the other games Uwe has designed like Cottage Garden and Indian Summer. I have to say I am always interested in animeeples though and I just LOVE the arctic fox. Cute game and one I am happy to play again!


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Way back in September I hosted Pandasaurus during a BGG livestream event to demonstrate games with publishers and I got to host and overview of Gods Love Dinosaurs (vid below). New to me!

A cool dino theme and some tile-placement = sign me up! I was looking forward to checking it out.

Now was the time! In Gods Love Dinosaurs, players are drafting tiles from the mainboard and placing them into their own little ecosystem. There are smaller animals, the prey, and larger animal, the predators, as well as some dinosaurs.

Player's have to manage their little world and generate as many points as they can by collecting dinos and dino eggs. The player with the most points at the end of the game will be the winner!

The interesting part about the game is how you are managing your ecosystem. In order to do well, you will need a lot of prey so you can feed the predators and make lots of predators. The dinos will eat anything once they are activated, but they will only gain egg tokens if they eat a predator.

You learn quickly that you will want to make sure to have any given animal at the time the animal is triggered on the mainboard. If you are able to activate them you will likely gain more of that given animal type and thus be ahead of the game. Making sure you have room to birth new baby rabbits or making sure you can feed any of the preditors you know will be activating. If you can't feed them they will die off.

It is a tricky situation!

Michael and I have no played it twice, one of those times was on the stream (below)!

It is really hard to know who is doing well, but I was trying to always get a leg up on Michael in order to push past him in the end. I tried to trigger the animal activations when he wasn't ready or he couldn't benefit from them.

Turns out that is a really great thing to do, only if you are prepared for it and you like the tile you are getting. I ended up getting tiles I didn't really want, so in the end, it didn't work out as nicely for me. Well, we ended up tied!

It wasn't as close on the livestream, so you will have to watch that for yourself!

Clever game and super easy to play and learn. It is very abstract, but there is a purpose for everything you do so it keeps you thinking and planning. I liked it a bunch and would play again for sure!

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I am always interested in pirate-themed games so I had been curious about Chrono Corsairs. New to me!


This one kinda flew under the radar when it came out. In Chrono Corsairs, players are trying to collect the most points throughout a number of rounds. The game end is varied depending on how the players place their cards each turn.

The whole game is like groundhog day where you will be replaying the same steps each round, but you might learn something new each round so you can plan better for the next round.

At the start of each round, the players will place one of the cards they received into their timeline and then each of the 4 spaces will be activated in order. Cards will remain from round to round unless you replace them with a new card. It is basically a programming game, but you can react after you see how the other players are playing out their turns. You will still have the same actions but maybe you end up moving east instead of the west if you have the options to.

Once all of the 4 actions have been resolved there is an end of round majority scoring per region, so you have to be cautious of that.

There can be some backstabbing in the game with event cards, but it wasn't too rough. For the most part, you have control over what you are doing, unless you choose to explore a region, bad things may happen... or you might get lucky and find some gems!

Michael and I started off pretty well. I figured out how to make it work with the cards I had in order to progress into the volcano region and into the jungle region in the first round. There was a bunch of exploring and I got some lucky flips.

I thought FOR SURE I would win this game. In the final round, Michael had a crazy string of luck and managed to out wit me in the end. The final game ended with Michael at 63 and I had 57. Doh!

This is a pretty cool game. Felt different and interesting. I think we might try to play it on the stream at some point. Solid game and one to try again for sure.



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New to the Collection:
7 Wonder Armada (2020)
7 Wonders Cities (2020)





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Wed Dec 9, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Curious Elf went on an Expedition for Gelato!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


I have an auction going on right now! Steph's Super Awesome Auction! Hundreds of Games for Sale! [CLOSED]!!



My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST for CrowD Games Night!! TONS OF GIVEAWAYS!! Winner's choice of the game!! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph

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From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312



Oh! Here is an Ugly Christmas Sweaters video from last night! Fun times!



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I love puzzley games, so I was excited to check out the new 2-player game called Curious Cargo. New to me!

In Curious Cargo, players will collect pipe in order to build machinery to ship out on and receive goods from the trucks. The more goods you can ship out and receive in the more points you will gain at the end of the game.

Over several rounds, players will take turns. Each turn there are 2 phases. The first phase is where you can construct conveyor tiles. Drawing new tiles or placing tiles. When you place a conveyor tile you can place it on top of existing tiles so you might be able to open up other possibilities throughout the game.

In the 2nd phase, players will ship out some trucks. Using a truck card in hard they can acquire a new truck and add it to the shipping side of their board. Eventually, the trucks will be pushed off of the shipping side and it will immediately head over to the other player's receiving side.

Trucks can only be unloaded where there is an active machine that is hooked up and the goods must be directly adjacent to that conveyor tile. Same thing with loading items. The space on the truck must be directly adjacent to the conveyor.

It can be tricky since you want it all to line up perfectly!

Along the way, you will encounter a bunch of small bonuses you can get to help gain additional actions and extra possible turns so you want to try and get all the help you can.

During our game, it was clear Michael wasn't enjoying himself. He isn't one for abstract games. He was getting a run of bad tiles that wouldn't line up with what he was doing and then he would pull the wrong truck cards. I didn't have these issues as much, I was either using the tiles I picked up wisely or just got lucky, I am not sure. I did try to pull a bunch of tiles before even starting my machine connections so I could plan a bit better, so maybe that helped me a bit.

It wasn't too long before I was off and running. I could start shipping out some goods and Michael wasn't able to receive them in, that was to my benefit.

I ended up winning this game. While I will be happy to play this again, I don't think this was Michael's cup of tea, so I will have to recruit another player to try on TTS so I can try it again. I definitely want to play it again soon!



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I was definitely late to the ELF party as I only first saw the movie a couple of years ago. It is a FANTASTIC movie and just fun. I was excited to check out the new game in the Funko Games line-up of Christmas-themed games called Elf: Journey from the North Pole. New to me!

In this Elf game, you move Buddy around the board, and sometimes off the board, in order to visit the location on your hidden goal. Buddy will eventually want to get to New York City which will end the game. The player with the most points will win.

On your turn, you can play any number of move cards to progress Buddy in his journey. Buddy will likely go around in circles and wander all over, the whole game is highly thematic! As buddy reaches locations they will get added to the line-up and at the end of the game, the order of the locations will matter and score more the earlier they are visited in Buddy's journey. You might pick up gingerbread cookies along the way and score some extra points and if you trigger the end of the game by reaching NYC, you will gain 2 extra points.

Very simple game, and still so much fun. The little Buddy mover is so super cute!

Michael and I have played this game twice now since we played it on the stream after learning it (see video below). In the first game we played, we were literally taking out time and hitting up a lot of locations. Michael was very good about collecting Gingerbread cookies and gaining a bunch of extra points. I was just trying to get to my locations. Michael kept diverting me any chance he could and it was actually pretty hilarious.

Michael won that first game. But, you will have to watch the video to see if I got my revenge!

Excellent little Christmas game. Definitely, one to keep around for the holidays and easy to play anytime. I hate the triangle box, but it is still a keeper! Check it out for some light family fun!

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It was time to explore a game called The Lost Expedition. New to me!

Oh man, I love exploration games! In the past few years, I have really enjoyed the exploration/survival games I have tried so I am always looking to try new ones at this time.

The Lost Expedition came out a few years ago and it can be played cooperatively, solo, or with a competitive variant found in the rulebook.

Michael and I played the easy cooperative mode. Our goal was to advance deep into the jungle and find El Dorado. Basically, we needed to advance our explorer 7 spaces. The normal game is to advance 9 spaces.

You have a crew to help you out when you need expertise and they all have 4 life when you start the game.

The game is played over several days until you win or you die a horrible death. Each day has a morning and a night phase.

In a 2 player game, each player has 6 cards. In the morning each player will take turns playing cards so that each player plays 3 cards and they will be resolved in numerical order. In the evening, the remaining 3 cards in each player's hand will be played but will be resolved in the order they are played in. After each phase one food token must be consumed.

What is great about this game is how clear everything is. The iconography is fantastic and the artwork is as well. It is super easy to understand what is happening and how the phase might play out.

In our easy game when we were learning, Michael and got some great cards early on and found life and food and everything seemed to be easy sailing. We flew into the jungle and progressed for the win very easily it seemed!

So when we went to play on the Livestream last night, we thought "pssssh" no problem with 9 cards instead of 7...

Yeah, we had a much different experience and those cards did not show up in our favor. We definitely had some bumpy moments. I will not spoil you on what happened in our game, but it was a rough landing!

I have to say this game really impressed me and I really enjoyed it. We have the expansion we will have to check out soon and I can't wait!

If you enjoy survival games, I think this is a no-brainer and one that you should definitely check out. I liked this a lot!

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Michael and I tried out a new cooperative game called Couperation. New to me!

There were no official rules posted about the game, but Rand had posted a rough translation.

It was hard to get through and fully understand how to play, but we tried. I know we must have played incorrectly though because there were several things that didn't make sense.

From what we played, I liked the mechanics of stacking up the wine glasses with limitations depending on the cup's values in order to make a pyramid. I like the core mechanics. The drawing of cards was the confusing part and a lot of the time didn't make any sense, so I know we were playing it wrong.

I can't really judge this properly because of that play, but I would like there to be an official English rules translation and then we could play properly.

I do think it is an interesting game and could be a bunch of fun!

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I want to eat all the Gelato as well as play all the games with a Gelato theme, soooo Michael and I played Gelato Mio. New to me!

Gelato Mio is a light card drafting and set collection game. You will want to gather ingredients in order to make the gelato and then serve the gelato to the customers. Each order you fulfill will be worth points and there are goal cards to try and gather for additional points. The player with the most points will win!

Each turn the active player will either take a card from the display, or make a gelato flavor, or fulfill an order.

When a player takes a card from the display, they can take matching types of cards if they are orthogonally adjacent in the display. There is no hand limit for the number of cards you have, but there are a few events that might pop up randomly that will make you discard cards if you have over 7 or gelato if you are hoarding the gelato. Be careful!

Overall the game is super simple to get into and play through. I knew I wanted to focus on getting a bunch of small cones fixed up for customers since it seemed the easiest. I ended up getting the bonus for the 1 scoop cones and I even completed a big sundae too. Michael was going for the majority of several flavors and I wasn't sure if he would be able to win because of that.

I was able to sneak attack the end of the game and trigger it to end, so I grabbed the final cone that Michael would have been able to complete and somehow won that game with 34 to his 29.

Cute game and one I would be happy to play again. I don't think it offers anything new or exciting, but it works. I certainly enjoy the theme, yum!

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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!



Steph and Michaels Top 10 November 2020!







New to the Collection:
In Front of the Elevators





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Epic Game Nights with Friends! The Blog where Steph plays an 18XX game... and Didn't Hate It! Carnegie, Wingspan, The Crew, and Nippon AND MORE!

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Hia Everyone!

I have an auction going on right now! Steph's Super Awesome Auction! Hundreds of Games for Sale! [CLOSED]!!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale

It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. Join me at 2pm CST! Michael and I will run down our Top 10 Games learned in November 2020!



Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun and games!!


Here is a video from Sunday. If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch.

Beyond the Sun


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I was asked to try out the new Quined title Carnegie. New to me!

We set it up so that Arno from Quined would teach us on BGA since it is in Alpha status. I was looking forward to checking out Carnegie because it is a new design by Xavier Georges. Carnegie will be hitting Kickstarter soon!

In Carnegie, players are managing their own little business. There are 4 main actions and they will all help you generate points in meaningful ways. Ultimately, players will want to build up a network throughout the continental US and issue donations to help score even more points from various strategies that they pursue.

The game has a lot of moving parts, but it has a fantastic flow where it all makes sense after you play the first half of the game. Now, during that first half of the first game, it is sort of hard to wrap your mind around how the game will all play out. So, I would highly recommend playing this MORE than once.

I know in my first game I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I picked a few department rooms that I thought could help my actions over time and went with it. I was looking for money for most of the game. I took what I learned in the first game and used it to my advantage in the second game I played. In the second game, I was flush with cash and had no issue. So there can easily be an upper hand if you have already played the game before.

The point spread of the first game wasn't so much. I think Arno won with 92 and Shrey had 86 and I was at 83.

I took what I learned and applied it to the second game I played. Shrey ended up teaching Derek and Dan how to play so we tried the 4 player game. I won that time with 177 and Dan came in second with 135, Shrey and 113, and Derek was stuck for most of the game and managed to get 70. So a fairly big difference in the scores.

Dan mentioned his worry about the limited variance from game to game if the same departments will always be used and nothing much changes except the time track. I see his point, but I suppose we can only find out by playing a bunch more. This is also still in prototype so there might be more content created for variance during the Kickstarter.

While I see Dan's point, I simply LOVED this game. It has a lot of possibilities and strategies to pursue. I think the action selection is interesting since everyone will activate the action you select you will want to choose wisely so it benefits you the most. Knowing when to donate to get the best end game rewards and when to hold back the extra cash is super important. So many great decisions in this game. I can't wait to play it again!!

Carnegie is easily one of the best games I have learned this year. I hope you get to check out their Kickstarter and help fund it. I love that BGA is so accessible to players too, so everyone will be able to play on BGA eventually. So great!


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Geoff and Dan bought 9 hours of my time through my Kickstarter. Of course, they want to play ALL SORTS of games with me that I wouldn't likely ever play otherwise. First on the list, of course, was 1846: The Race for the Midwest. New to me!

I have now played an 18XX game. Long story short, I didn't hate it. People seem to think that means I LIKED it, which would be incorrect. I have been bombarded with comments on FB and Twitter on how I need to play this XX and that XX and stuff like that. Noooo I will not be dragged into the world of 18XX now. Sure, the game wasn't bad I even rated it a 6.5 which is totally respectable.

I am MORE LIKELY willing to play it in person at The Gathering or some con down the line with all my 18xx friends, but I still won't be carried away by the genre.

I still don't even think I fully understand 46, but I have the concepts and generalizations down where I know I will be able to likely hold my own if I were to play again. ish.

Hey, I didn't do that badly in the game either. I am sure that is mostly thanks to Geoff and Dan who were hand-holding me through the game, but that's okay, I still lost. (see pic below for scores)

The 3 hours didn't suck... it was probably the company.


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I was asked to check out a new kids game called Drop Squad The Escape which can be found on Amazon. New to me!

Let me tell ya, the BOX IS HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It attacked Michael... See pic.

There is a HUGE rulebook that goes along with the game, but they never really tell you how to play the game and how to win. They sort of glaze over the rules but never get into detail.

Now, as a kid, this game would have BEEN AMAZING. I would have been all over this game and played the heck out of it. So, the fun factor for kids is totally here. I would DEFINITELY recommend it for kids.

Fantastic quality and interesting experience. Pretty ridic that Michael ended up winning our game.

The game is super huge and there is absolutely nowhere to keep it in this house of 1700 games, but I am glad to have tried it. I wouldn't recommend this for regular gamers with no kids. The rules are weak, and I could easily create a bunch of house rules in order to make an okay game of it, but really that should have been done from the beginning.


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Woohoo! Another Game Night cashed in from my Kickstarter! This time I got to play with Lindsey, Elias, and Geoffrey! The game of choice to play was Wingspan. It had been a LONG time since my last play of Wingspan, but it wasn't hard to remember how to play. I probably didn't do the best job teaching it, but Lindsey had played before. Elias and Geoffrey had watched videos on how to play so they were pretty much caught up in no time.

We played on Tabletopia which is not my favorite site to play games on. I will always choose TTS over Tabletopia, but I understand Tabletopia is free for the most part.

In any case, I was glad to hang out and play games with my friends. I hadn't seen them since Dice Tower Con 2018 I think it was. It's been a LONG time and Elias moved to Japan. I was happy to just spend some time!

Wingspan isn't a favorite game of mine, but I don't mind playing it. I didn't focus during this game at all. I was just trying to do a bunch of everything, but that didn't work out well at all since I didn't have combos or anything going on. It was no wonder that I super lost!! Dead last. Geoffrey kicked out butts with a score of 97 and I was in the back of the pack with 76. I got most of my points from eggs. Not good enough!

Since we had some extra time, I taught them all how to play The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nineon Board Game Arena. They aren't big fans of trick-taking games so in the few games we played we lost a few times and won a few. It was fun to play with everyone and hope to play with them again!

Game Night Success!


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In other Game Night news, I had another Game Night cashed in! This time Eric and his friend Richard, and I got together and played a bunch of games on Board Game Arena! I met Eric at TN Game Days back in March, so I was looking forward to our Game Night!

We played a bunch of cool games at TGD and I knew he was into medium weight euros! My fav! Eric requested we play a game of Nippon. This was exciting since I hadn't played since the game was first released, and yet it has been on my shelf ever since. I requested that Shrey teach me and Derek the day before so I could prepare for the Game Night with Eric.

Needless to say, I got to play a bunch of Nippon in a few days and it was awesome.

While I ended up winning the game with Shrey and Derek and a score of 171, I was completed pounded on in the game with Eric and Richard. They clearly had a much better handle on the game and kept blocking every chance they could. I could never get the right timing down to work in my favor during the game, so everything was off by a beat and ended up causing me TONS of points. I had an embarrassing score of 144 for the 3rd place position.

Fantastic game. I have to get this game played with Michael since I would love to feature it on the Stream at some point (and Wingspan for that matter).

Since we had a bunch of time after Nippon. Eric and Richard were up for playing The Voyages of Marco Polo. This was their second time playing Marco Polo so I kicked some butt. So much so that Eric commented that he wanted to go back and watch the replay video since he wasn't sure how I did so well. I ended with 92. I managed to get my houses down and a whole bunch of contracts fulfilled so it was a pretty good game.

Fortunately, they both really liked the game in their second play (more than the first play they said). Hope they continue to play it!

We even had MORE time to play games so we played about 20 games of The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine. They were familiar with the game so we started around mission 11 or 13 or something and went from there. We had a few rough levels, but we ended the Game Night with a successful mission 20. Such an amazing game!!!

Seems to be the go-to game to end the Game Nights and I am more than OKAY with that! Always a great time.

I had so much fun playing with them and revisiting Nippon. Fantastic game!

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New to the Collection:
Sacred Rites
Gudetama
Stellar
The Fox in the Forest Duet
Succulent
Atheneum
Clank in Space Cyber Station
Clip Cut
Circadians First Light






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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During the Christmas Vacation, the Capital had an Animix party on the Village Green

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


I have an auction going on right now! Steph's Super Awesome Auction! Hundreds of Games for Sale! [CLOSED]!!



My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now For Sale


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST while Michael and I play through three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph


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I was very excited to check out the new small box card game called Village Green. New to me!

Michael and I learned this a few weeks ago and then almost immediately played it on the Livestream (video below). We fully explain the game in the video if you wanted or needed a full rules teach.

In Village Green, Players are taking turns drafting and playing cards into their tableau. There are different types of greenery cards that you can play into a 3x3 grid, but when you place a card, it must have matching features to the cards in the directly adjacent areas. The other type of cards are the scoring cards and they will be placed at the top of the 3 columns of greenery cards and to the left of the rows. These cards will provide end of game points depending on how well you meet the requirements for the row or column.

At the start of the game, each player is randomly dealt 3 scoring cards for their columns.

What is nice about the game is that you can overplay any of your cards, scoring or greenery, if you don't like something, or you simply wanted to get a better card for the location. I think that is the best rule! It allows you to be flexible and optimal if something better comes along.

Michael and I really enjoyed the first play. I was working hard on getting lawn cards for my starting scoring cards, but the lawn cards are also nice because they act as wild and can be placed next to ANY type of card.

I ended up finding some perfect scoring cards for what I was doing and since the game ends when one player places the final greenery tile in their 3x3 grid. I triggered that ending as fast as I could since Michael was having a harder time finding the cards he wanted.

I ended up winning this game with 30 to his 21. During the stream, it was a MUCH closer game and only a span of 2 points... Check it out!

This is one of the best smaller games I have played in a long while. I would highly recommend it and it would be a perfect holiday gift! Do ettttt! Really fun!



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A lot of games come and go, but I still have Capital Lux on the shelf and I was super excited to hear about and play the new edition called Capital Lux 2: Generations. New to me!

Now, this isn't really New to Me, but it is. If you are familiar with the first game, you will easily pick up on the rules for this game. In the 1st edition, the capital has 4 factions each with their own special ability. in Generations, the capital has 4 factions but now there is a mix of options and variable abilities. Each faction can have 1 of 4 choices. This allows for so much variability and re-play, it is awesome!

There are also shiny new add-on coins which are sooooo awesome!

Since the starting capital powers are the same at the 1st edition, it is safe to say you don't need to keep both Capital Lux and Capital Lux Generations since it is essentially the same game, but with more options.

Michael and I played the starting game which has the A abilities and is the matching game to Capital Lux, so that was not new to me. When we played on the stream we used the B abilities and had a totally different experience. It was wild! Changing up the abilities is sooooo much fun and you have to figure out the best strategies depending on the abilities out there. It is very cool to see how drastic the change is from game to game and figuring out what might work in your favor.

In the first game, Michael ended up edging me out since he was controlling a massive colony and just snagging all of the big cards for his score pile. He kicked my butt with 74 to my 55. I lost so hard because I ended up overpowering the capital and lost a LOT of cards in one round. #MistakesWereMade

Now when we played on the Livestream, it went a lot differently, and I was able to edge out just a little and make the new powers work totally in my favor. A super tight game where I won 56 to his 55. Ouch!

I have to say I am very impressed with this game, and I love the artwork, of course! Happy to play this one a whole lot more! Great game!

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312




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It was time to get some awesome Christmas games played! This time Michael and I played National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Twinkling Lights Game. New to me!

I was looking forward to checking this game out since I knew it was tile-placement and I really like all the beautiful colors of the Christmas lights!

This is very easy to learn and play so will work well for the casual gamer crowd who hate to listen to rules.

Each player will get 1 goal card with a string of 4 lights, and 2 cards with a string of 3 lights. On your turn, you will draw a tile and place it somewhere in the grid and if it has a + symbol on it you can place it ON TOP of any other tile if you want. At the end of your turn you can complete your goal cards if you have created a string of the matching lights or if it is on the board somewhere. You will win if you complete all three goal cards before the other players.

Michael and I zipped through this game in a few minutes. I was having a hard time since I kept drawing purple lights when I didn't need the purple lights, but I somehow made it work with the tiles that Michael was placing and when it mattered most, I drew the tile I needed to finish the game for the win. Michael was likely a few lights away from winning himself.

It's a cute game. Not much depth, but I can see families enjoying this one well enough. It is certainly harmless and I would play again. I do wish there were "advanced" rules for those who want a bigger gaming experience. I suppose I can create some.



From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312



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It was NOW TIME to break the Enigma Code by playing Enigma: Beyond Code. New to me!

Right off the bat, the game says it is for 2 players, but I know it would really be best with 3+ players. Each player has hidden objectives/roles in the game. There is a bluffing element in the game where you are looking at room cards and you will have to tell everyone the room it is. You have a chance to lie and perform the action of another room type, or you can just tell the truth and perform the action of that room type. If people doubt you, you reveal the card and someone will be hit with a penalty depending on if you were lying or not!

The game is played over a few rounds and players will take turns looking at rooms and performing actions trying to fulfill their objectives.

Michael and I wanted to play this game because we will be playing it again on Dec 9th during the Livestream with CrowD Games!

Since we were playing as a 2 player game, I pretty much figured out which character he was going to be and what he was trying to accomplish. I ended up being the saboteur and I was just trying to move the time along and not reveal any cards. Seemed easy enough and I did a good job! Michael wasn't revealing any cards and I knew he would have to if he wanted to win the game. I totally kicked butt.

I am excited to play it again with 3 players since I think it will be a much better game. More actions will happen in the rounds and I am guessing more cards will be revealed. Ultimately, it will be much more interesting.

So be sure to join us on December 9 starting at 5pm CST! We will have TONS of giveaways!! It will be a FUNtastic night of games!

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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I was looking forward to checking out Animix because of the bright colors and the awesome animal theme! New to me!

I didn't really know what to expect as I figured it was a memory type game. It is not a memory game but more of an abstract card placement game.

Depending on the number of players you are playing with you will have a specific amount of animal types you play within the game. Since we are 2 players we only had 3 animal types so I chose the Wolf (obviously), Lion, and Penguins. Each animal has a unique scoring ability depending on their final status on the game board. You only score points if you have the sole majority of that animal at the end of the game.

The game is only 6 rounds long and in each round, you will simply take a card from your hand and either place it facedown in front of you or replace a card in the display and take the new card and place it facedown in front of you.

You will finish the game with 6 cards and hopefully a few different majorities with the animals. You also want them to score the most points as possible so you have to be aware of all that.

Very simple game. I like the fact that there are so many animal types and different ways to score. I knew I wasn't going to go for the lions in our game so I just let them be out and about on the board. The more on the board the fewer points they were worth. Michael ended up coring them as expected. I had a beautiful hand of wolves and penguins and the penguins wanted to score for the biggest group of penguins. I knew I could win that majority but Michael kept messing up the group of penguins on the board, so I didn't get many points for that at all.

I wanted to win the wolves too and they were scoring for wolves on the outer perimeter.

It worked out for me in the end as I scored slightly more points for my majorities than Michael so it was pretty close.

We both agreed the game was okay, but in general, not that exciting. It could be better with more players, but it might just add chaos which wouldn't be that great. I would certainly play again, don't think I would request it though.

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312



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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!








New to the Collection:

Tidal Blades

From gallery of punkin312






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:00 pm
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